Popular author serves up surprising thrills
As a librarian, it may surprise you to know how many popular authors I have actually never read.
Thus, I’m undertaking a little project this year to read a popular author every month along with everything else I have been reading. The results thus far have been mixed.
I could take or leave James Patterson, but it can’t be denied that his books are action packed and his pacing frenetically addicting. I have tried three different Nora Roberts books and just couldn’t get into any of them. And don’t even get me started on Stephen King (too wordy, too creepy and way too much gory detail).
But this is all a matter of opinion because some of the authors I have read thus far I have really enjoyed. One of those was Catherine Coulter, a longtime resident of the bestseller lists and a master of the FBI thriller. The book I read was “The Lost Key,” which was co-written by J.T. Ellison, and is the second installment in Coulter’s newest series.
“The Lost Key” is a maze of labyrinthine plot twists and mistaken identities – it grabs hold of you from the first page and doesn’t let go. We are introduced to two partners, Nick Drummond, a freshlyappointed British FBI agent looking to prove himself, and Mike Caine (short for Micaela), a fiercely ambitious woman in a man’s world.
As the story opens, the two witness the brutal Wall Street stabbing of a Mr. James Pearce. As he lays dying in Agent Drummond’s hands, he mumbles something nearly indecipherable: “The key is in the lock.” And suddenly, a seemingly ordinary mugging turns into a layered conspiracy.
As the two agents dig deeper into the case, the details prove elusive and they are left with more questions than answers. Pearce’s two children suddenly go missing. And one of them – the son – turns out to be a famous hacker.
Pearce’s very identity comes into question as well: on the surface he appears to be a well-to-do antique bookseller who keeps to himself and caters to a niche clientele. But the two partners begin to see this was just a cover for another life – that of a spy – and that he had spent his life in search of a lost World War I U-boat that supposedly houses all of Kaiser Wilhelm’s gold.
Ultimately, “The Lost Key” is an utterly fascinating book that weaves modern technology and World War I history together in a breakneck chase to the finish. The writing here is crisp and wellpaced; you both like the characters and feel like the author doesn’t spend too much time talking about them rather than moving the story along. There is great chemistry between our two leads and their skills as agents are both believable and interesting to read about.
I actually listened to the book in my car, which made it even more fun. I can easily see why people love Coulter and turn to her for a reliable thriller or a great audiobook for commuting. I guess it goes to show that you can’t always judge an author by the amount of people who read them.
Jill Cluff is a sometimes librarian who is married to one giant and mom to two boys. She loves all things book- and food-related – often at the same time.